Chair: Michael Chester - 577-2784
ECIA Liaison: Nolan Zisman
Names of Members
Robert Burdette, Fred Raznick, Dale Knapp, Joel Hopko, Laurie Grob
Meeting Time & Place
1st Monday of January7, May 6, August 5 November 4, 2013 at 6:00 pm, Conference Room
The mission of the Road Committee is to advise, assist and recommend to the E.C.I.A. Board of Directors policies involving the maintenance and repair of roads in Eldorado. The recommendations of the Road Committee shall be based on their collective judgement as they balance the needs of the community with available financial resources.
Problem Reporting: Your Contribution to the Eldorado Community!
If you spot a stop sign that is down please call Gaby at the County Public Works Dept. at 992-3010 and report the intersection where the sign is down or missing. If you see a street name sign that is missing, a pothole or other hazardous road problems, you can now submit a road problem report by clicking on the 'Got Road Problems?' hot spot on the ECIA home page. (You can also use this to report a missing or downed stop sign). A member of the Road Committee will follow up with an on-site inspection and get the report to the County.
Road Survey results
Click here to view survey results and comments from respondents.
Eldorado Road Improvements
Gavilan Place-Jan, 2008-- Base Course
Encantado Place- Feb, 2008-- Base Course
Moya Place-Feb, 2008--Base Course
Gualdo Road- Aug, 2008 -- Base Course
Camerada Rd. betw. Av Amistad and Camerada Loop - Nov, 2008- Chip Seal
Lucero Road-No., 2008--Base Course
Vista Grande Drive/Court-Nov, 2008 - - Base Course
Azul Loop/Way/Court - Nov, 2008, Base Course
Jornada Loop -Nov 2008-- Base Course
Frasco Road/Way/Terrace/Pl/Ct-Nov 2008- Base Course
Domingo Place- Nov 2008- - Base Course
Cerrado Road/Way-Dec, 2008- - Base Course
Av Eldorado W of Av Casa del Oro-Dec,2008- - Base Course
Baya Road/Court-Dec, 2008- - Base Course
Condesa Road - Jan, 2009--Base Course
Palacio Road - Jan, 2009- - Base Course
Reno Road- - Jan, 2009 - - Base Course
Chapala Road - Jan, 2009- - Base Course
Avenida Vista Grande - Oct 2009 Asphalt
Abanico Road - - Oct 2009 - - Base Course
Vista Grande Circle - - Nov 2009 - - Base Course
Ladera Road/Lane - - Nov 2009 - - Base Course
Balsa Court- - Oct 2009 - - Base Course
Buena Ventura Place - - Oct 2009 - - Base Course
Enebro Place - - Nov 2009 - - Base Course
Future Plans (as provided by the County)
Paving and Drainage Repair
Encantado Road (on hold, awaiting funding to be made available)
Balsa Road (on hold, awaiting funding to be made available)
Herrada Road, Av. Amistad, Av. Buena Ventura (on hold, awaiting funding to be made available)
Fonda Rd complex - - on County list; priority unknown at this time.
Frasco Rd - on County list; priority unknown at this time.
'AT THE CROSSROADS'
Verano Loop - Work in Progress-- reclaimed chip seal
(Monthly Comments from the Road Committee Chairperson)
Aug/Sept 2010: ROAD SURVEY RESULTS..... Residents/owners of 620 Eldorado homes (23%) responded to the recent ECIA Survey or Road Preferences. 54% favor retaining dirt surfaces and 67% are against incurring a special assessment to fund improvements to their roads. More details and a full list of the comments received from respondents are posted elsewhere on this ECIA website. From a road-by road perspective, there are quite a few where more than half the respondents favor paving and/or are willing to pay to get their road improved. In the coming months efforts will be made to develop more road-specific information regarding resurfacing costs and self-funding procedures and policies for these roads. In the meantime, efforts will continue to pursue funding from the legislature and the county in spite of the likelihood there may not be anything available for the next year or two. Nolan Zisman, Chair, ECIA Road Committee
July 2010: Dangerous trees: At some of our intersections there are “volunteer” trees growing in bar ditches or in other County easements that, when fully leafed, restrict drivers from seeing side traffic on intersecting roads. If you are aware of any such hazards, won't you please fill out a Road Problem Report form on the ECIA web site (you must login to access) or call the ECIA office.
May/June 2010: IT’S STILL NOT TOO LATE…. Many thanks to those who have already sent in a completed Road Survey form. Those of you who bothered to add comments can be assured that they have all been read and will be summarized and read by each member of the Road Committee and provided to the ECIA Board. You will find comments from surveys already submitted in the Road Committee section of the ECIA web site. As of the writing of this article we have received nearly 200 completed surveys. However, this represents only 7% of our lot owners. We’d like to get at least 4 times that many to ensure we have a reliable, representative response. If you haven’t yet sent in your completed survey, please either log in to the ECIA web site (www.eldoradocommunity.org) or deliver a hard copy (found on the back cover of the May issue of Vistas) to the suggestion box outside the ECIA offices. We will keep the survey open until the end of June. Nolan Zisman
March/April 2010: YUCK! MORE MUCK! The winter of 2009-2010 may go down in history as one of the muddiest in the history of Eldorado. We begin to wonder about the pros and cons of living in a community that has mostly dirt roads, especially when we have spent the last twenty minutes slip-sliding down our road, haven’t had the paper or mail in two days because the carrier can’t get near the mailbox and the front hallway looks like a battalion of kids with dirty feet have marched through. Rather than have you spend your time wondering, your Road Committee has done it for you.
Jan/Feb. 2010: 2009 in Review…..2009 was an interesting year for our roads. Late fall saw the last of the $280,000 Legislature-provided funds spent on applying new base course to over 9 miles of our worst dirt roads. Unfortunately we lost the last $15,000 of the allocation in a state call-back of unencumbered capital funds, which the County did not encumber before the deadline. As a result there were 10 small stretches of other Eldorado dirt roads that did not receive base course “patching”. Most of these roads will be at the top of our priority list going forward. During the winter months of 2008-2009 we were lulled into a false sense of belief that our worst dirt roads were as bad as they were going to get, as they held up pretty well for much of the year. The “problem” was that we had lighter than normal amounts of snowfall, and the storms were spread out far enough to allow these roads to dry quickly and remain fairly firm. As winter turned into summer, even though we had a very wet monsoon season, the roads were dry enough to quickly suck up the rain water and remain generally firm. This was especially true of the roads that received new base course in the past four years. Towards the end of the rainy season, and into the end of 2009, however, we began to notice more muddy conditions on some of our more heavily travelled dirt roads and roads that had previously been rated as “OK” are now joining the list of “bad condition” roads. Possible reasons: continual grading, speeding, lack of appropriate drainage for runoff and snowmelt, high traffic volumes. As we get further into 2010 this column will devote more discussion to what we might be able to do about it.
A PRIMER ON ROAD SURFACES
(This is a series of “At The Crossroads” articles dealing with the nature of our roads in Eldorado and what we as residents and users of our roads can do to and for them.)
Dirt Roads 101 (Sept, 2008): I get the most complaints/reports, by far, about the washboard surface on our roads. Recently I was somewhat flabbergasted when I received a call requesting grading on Gavilan Road—one that received new base course only last year. I went over and drove the road and my worst fears were concerned. How did the road get in such shape after such a short time? I did a little research and found the following information from “Science News”, Aug. 18, 2007, by J. Rehmeyer:
“Driving on a dirt road can rattle the bones. Every foot or so, a ridge of dirt up to several inches high lies in wait to jolt passing ears and trucks and their hapless occupant. In many places, road crews battle this 'washboard' effect by frequently scraping the roads with bulldozers. But as soon as more vehicles pass, the ridges, phoenix-like, return…. Now, a team of physicists has explained why a washboard forms…. Any bed of dirt or sand, even a very smooth one, has minuscule irregularities that slightly jog a rolling wheel. Each time the wheel hits a bump, the computer simulation showed, it pushes the dirt forward a bit, enlarging the irregularity. Then, as the wheel passes over the top of the bump, the force of its descent pushes dirt forward into the next bump. Repeat these actions a hundred or more times and the familiar pattern of ridges appears. The research has a dispiriting message for road crews: Scrape often, or give up. Washboard is inevitable. The researchers found one, and only one, solution: The critical velocity below which [the surface] would remain flat is about 5 miles per hour. Slow down—a lot. While I'm not advocating going 5 miles per hour, I believe that if we all stay within the speed limit on dirt roads (generally 25 MPH) we can slow down the effect of washboarding and save a few dollars on car repairs as well. If you see speeders on your dirt roads, please try to capture their license numbers. If we can report these to the Sheriff's office, perhaps they can issue warnings and get the worst offenders to slow down.
DIRT ROADS 102(Oct 2008)- - In the last issue of Vistas we covered washboard. In this issue, let’s review some factors regarding rutting. As you may have noted the County has been trying a slightly different approach to grading our dirt roads. Where practical, the grader is pushing the side of the road back toward the original bar ditches, where they exist, thereby opening up water flow access to driveway culverts that haven’t been exposed for many years. Several additional roads have been earmarked by the County for this special grading and your Road Committee is in the process of putting together a list of even more candidates. This grading technique has two advantages. Runoff will keep the culverts open and water that used to pool on or at the side of the driving lanes will be diverted off the driving lanes. Where water stays off the top of the roadway, deep ruts and excessive muddy spots are less likely to form. Hopefully, unless we get some heavy deep snows this winter or a deluge like we had in July, the roads should be more passable where they have been graded in this manner. During our recent road inspection, however, Road Committee members noted many instances of driveways that have no culverts. In many of these cases, the driveway sits at a higher elevation than the roadway. The result of both these conditions is that water running alongside the roadway, if it can’t go through a driveway culvert, will run in front of the driveway and form a small gully. After the July rains, some of these gullies were fairly wide and deep. So, between lack of culverts and speeding vehicles, the grader will be required to maintain the roads more frequently and ultimately the roads will get lower and the gap between the drive and roadway higher. You can help reduce this cycle by keeping your culverts open and free of things that may otherwise inhibit the flow of water through them.
CHIP SEAL -A Primer (Part 1) (Dec 2008): Previous issues of Vistas provided information about the problem characteristics of our dirt roads- - wash boarding and rutting. While new base course helps address these problems and is the appropriate surface for most of our dirt roads, we do have some that even new base course may not totally solve these problems. Many of our residents have asked if there is a better way to keep our roads from getting wash boarded and rutted throughout much of the year. Also many residents have asked how we can prevent some of the hazards of runoff and impassable mud during rainy periods. One answer is to “pave” our roads. There are two types of paving; one is asphalt – used for heavily trafficked roads; the other is chip seal – a less expensive method used for lighter traffic volumes where dirt roads are a maintenance issue. While there are some heavy volume roads that are still dirt, these are known and in county plans for paving. Examples include Herrada, Balsa and Encantado Roads as well as Av. Buena Ventura and the dirt portion of Av. Amistad. This article will focus on chip seal. What is Chip Seal? Chip seal consists of an application of a binder in the form of an emulsion or hot spray mixed with an aggregate as close to single size as possible. The aggregate becomes the top surface of road. Chip seal has been used for decades around the world. It is one of the oldest methods of road surfacing and quite durable. Chip sealed roads last upwards of seven to ten years in most instances. It is a durable form of paving for most of our remaining dirt roads. Plusses and minuses: Chip seal provides a durable surface that will be easy to drive on, especially during the wet months, and will eliminate the dust clouds. In addition it will be longer lasting than a dirt surface and will not need constant attention from the County. On the negative side, it costs much more to apply than new base course. To avoid erosion of the underlying materials, driveway culverts are essential to keep runoff away from the roadway. Watch this web site for Part 2 of this primer.
Dirt Vs Paving (March/April 2010) The winter of 2009-2010 may go down in history as one of the muddiest in the history of Eldorado. We begin to wonder about the pros and cons of living in a community that has mostly dirt roads, especially when we have spent the last twenty minutes slip-sliding down our road, haven’t had the paper or mail in two days because the carrier can’t get near the mailbox and the front hallway looks like a battalion of kids with dirty feet have marched through. Rather than have you spend your time wondering, your Road Committee has done it for you. Here’re the results: PROS CONS
Drying Time When Wet Slow
Passability When Wet More Difficult
Opportunity to Speed Less
Rural Atmosphere Yes (value?)
Cost to Maintain High
Impact on Property Value Lower than paved road
Have you said to yourself “I’m fed up with it and don’t want to put up with it anymore”? If so, watch for more in the next Vistas. If not, you can look for the next installment, too!
TO PAVE OR NOT TO PAVE (May 2010)…..That is the Question…we’ve been leading up to in the past few “At the Crossroads” columns. The ECIA Board is looking for direction in setting policy regarding the future of our roads. The time has come to express your opinion. Elsewhere in this issue you’ll find a survey form that you can fill in and return by mail or drop off at the ECIA Community Center, or you can take the survey on the ECIA Web Site at (http://www.eldoradocommunity.org/). The options are as follows:
Dirt: Provides a more rural atmosphere but also produces a lot of dust in the summer and mud/hazardous driving conditions during monsoon and snow seasons. Base course is the surface material used; it’s less expensive to put down, but more expensive to maintain and has a shorter useful life than paving;--all other things equal. New Base course, properly laid, will provide a more solid foundation when wet (although it can get slushy during snow melt), but will still throw off dust and tend toward wash-boarding/rutting- - depending on the elements.
Paving: eliminates dust and mud; dries more quickly than dirt when wet; unless icy, is not as hazardous when wet. While more expensive to put down, it lasts longer than dirt and is much less expensive to maintain. It is also strongly believed by many that paved roads add more value to residential properties than do dirt roads. For most residential roads, chip seal is used; if heavy traffic volumes are involved, asphalt is preferred. There are only two or three dirt roads in Eldorado that would most likely receive asphalt if and when paved - - Herrada Road, Av. Amistad and Av. Buena Ventura. Over the course of, say 15 to 20 years, chip seal would probably cost less to apply and maintain than base course.
TO PAY OR NOT TO PAY…..That Is Also the Question: While the County of Santa Fe owns and is responsible for maintaining the roads in Eldorado, let’s look at the facts……
It was the ECIA Board which was primarily responsible for getting a little less than $800,000 from the Legislature in 2007/2008 to apply base course about 9 miles of roads that were considered in the worst shape at that time.
In the past ten years, the County has financed new road surfaces in Eldorado for less than 10 miles of roads. We have 80 miles of roads; 54 miles are dirt.
Almost 5 of the 10 miles was taken up by re-asphalting of Av. Vista Grande--this when the County had five other roads, totaling 6 miles, in their long range plan to be paved which were passed over. These 5 roads are among our worst roads; Av. Vista Grande was not.
With the exception of Av. Vista Grande, only 4 roads were paved in the past 10 years, for a total of less than 3 miles.
From this brief recap, some conclusions can be drawn as applies to the future of our roads.
· The County has done a fairly good job of getting the graders out here to work on the roads; but moving mud around doesn’t get rid of mud, nor does shaving off the top of a wash board rut get rid of the washboard.
· The County, when they are able to do work, can only resurface a couple of miles per year; for any greater amounts they must contract out the work to the lowest bidder(s).
· It may take two or three more decades if we wait for the County to replace the missing base course from about 48 miles of dirt roads that have not received any since they were built.
· If we want paved roads, or at least new base course when the old has worn out, we will either have to convince the Legislature of the need (which they have not heretofore been warm to) or, we will have to be willing to finance paving on our own. Relying on either the county or the Legislature to provide the necessary funding to replace our road surfaces could be a “waiting game ad infinitum”. We can be more convincing, too, if we demonstrate we are/have been willing to pay for some of the work.
· With very limited sources of funds and a large backlog of worthy candidates (e.g. expand the Vista Grande Library, extend water supplies to new residents, continue to grow the hospital and safety services, etc), paving our roads will not be considered as favorably as even just getting new base course on them.
· While some of our residents feel we pay enough in property taxes to justify paving the roads, this just isn’t the case. Less than $20 of every $1000 collected in county revenues is earmarked for the county roads.
There are alternative means of financing road improvements, other than through the Legislative appropriations process. The county can sell bonds with proceeds earmarked to our roads. Practically, this has not happened very often in the past and a majority of all county voters need to approve any such measure to become a reality. This could involve a 3 to 5 year lead time with a chance of not passing. Another alternative would be to create a special tax district. The advantages here are that only a majority of those affected by the project (i.e. voters in Eldorado) would be required to approve such a project and as a county tax, would be deductible for income tax purposes. A similar lead time of 3 to 5 years would probably apply to getting through this process.
The covenants of the Eldorado Homeowners Association allow for special assessments for road improvements (only). Using a “pay in advance” approach, monies would be collected by the ECIA and put into a reserve earmarked for road improvements. When enough is collected to pay for x miles of work, the contracts are let and the work performed. Assessments collected in this manner would receive the same tax treatment as our regular annual assessment - - not deductible for income tax purposes. This concept could be used on a community-wide basis or on a road-by-road basis. The latter approach has the advantage of not waiting any longer for your own road to be improved than it takes to collect the funding, Doing this on a community-wide basis would reduce the average cost per lot owner but would mean that some roads would not receive new surfaces for several years. A prioritization “formula” would also have to be worked out and agreed-to by the lot owners.
The concept under which a paving alternative would be pursued would be that all Eldorado property owners would fund the initial application of paving and the County would thereafter be responsible for replacing the material as it wears out (“maintaining” the surface) - roughly every 12 to 20 years, depending on the volume of traffic using the road and the number of freeze/thaw cycles incurred.
For purposes of determining cost and timing, the following parameters (unconfirmed at this time) are offered:
Asphalt - - $ 225,000 per mile. We have 3 roads of approximately 2.7 miles that have been identified by the county as asphalt candidates- -- Herrada Rd., Av. Amistad, and Av. Buena Ventura.
Chip Seal - - $180,000 per mile. Base Course - - $100,000 per mile.
We currently have 191 dirt roads in Eldorado comprising 54 miles. The breakdown is as follows:
· Through roads, including connectors, feeders, loops - - 80 roads/40 miles
· Dead-end or cul-de-sac roads 111 roads/14 miles
In the past three years 37 roads/11 miles of both through and cul-de-sac roads have received new base course. The expected remaining life of this material is 8 to 15 years. This leaves 154 roads/43 miles in need of new surface. How long it would take to replace the surface on these roads depends on how much is collected and from how many. If the whole community contributes the following is an estimate of duration:
Annual Years to Complete * Assessment # 40 miles Base Course + 51 miles Chip Seal + 4.6 million) ($ 9.8 million)
$ 300 6-7 12-13
$ 600 3-4 6-7
$ 1,000 2-3 4-5
$ 2,000 1-2 2-3
# One time per year until all required funds are collected * Based on 2769 lot owners. + Plus 2.7 miles at $225,000/mile for asphalt on 3 roads
The above estimates, of course, assume that all the miles for which funds are available in any year can be completed in that year.
While we still have a long way and time to go, not getting started is not solving our hazardous driving condition problems. Make your opinions count- - please take a few minutes to complete our survey.